This study examines personality and situational correlates of self-reported reasons for intimate partner violence (IPV) among women and men court-ordered to batterers' intervention as IPV offenders. Women endorsed self-defense and men retaliation as their primary reasons for IPV. Both also endorsed emotion dysregulation as a reason for much of their violence. Women's partner violence was largely, but not exclusively, situationally motivated. Women's reasons for violence also related significantly to self-reported borderline personality symptomology. Men's reasons for IPV related primarily to their self-reported antisocial and borderline personality traits, not to situational factors. Thus, the IPV of some women and some men may be considered “characterological,” in that it reflects something about the individual's character or personality. Control or domination of one's partner was not a primary reason for violence among women or men, despite the assumption on which many batterer intervention programs are based, that IPV is primarily a power and control tactic. Clinical implications and recommendations for future research are provided. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.